Licensing policy change proposal

Mirko Boehm (KDE) mirko at
Mon Jan 28 22:51:47 GMT 2019


sorry, but this email contains a lot of assertions that cannot stand.

> On 28. Jan 2019, at 14:28, Krešimir Čohar <kcohar at> wrote:
> >It violates the Open Source definition, especially the rule against discrimination against use or user. This has been a long-time yardstick for the KDE community.
> There isn't any discrimination? As long as the operators of the website are being truthful, no one's rights have been violated without consent seeing as they were waived voluntarily. Also, if I'm not mistaken, open source =/= free and open source.

FOSS licenses need to work transitively. We as a community distribute so that other can freely use and redistribute. Any restrictions against certain types of use undermine that. That is why the Open Source Definition disapproves any such restrictions.

> >There is. We cannot prove that we have explicit permission from the author to use or distribute the work. We also have no way of tracking that who submits the work to our channels has the right to do so. The idea of “public domain” only really works for works where copyright has expired.
> Several specious arguments here.
> First, while it is hardly impossible to acquire proof that the authors' rights have been waived, I would surmise that it is rarely done.

Not the point. That is like arguing you can speed if you don't get caught.

> In addition, if the operators of the website are, again, being truthful, they are the copyright holders and there is simply no need to ask anything of the original authors.

The creators of the work are the authors and give the license, not the web site operators. Unless that is the same person. You get the idea. 

> Second, no way of tracking if the person submitting the work has the right to do so? Isn't that covered in the license itself? Or are you just saying that we simply don't know if they're lying?

That argument was specifically for public domain works. If a work comes without information about the copyright holder, how can we know if we can use it? Who gives the public domain dedication? How can you prove it? What if the author changes their mind? …

> Third, I wholeheartedly disagree. Not only does the public domain cover intellectual properties the rights to which have been waived (in addition to property whose copyright has expired), it also covers a variety of other situations, see more here: <>
So much confusion. This web site speaks about US copyright law, where public domain dedications exist. Our responsible legal body is in Germany.

> A great example of this are movies, television series, books with the same name because titles, names etc. don't receive copyright protection (and are hence public domain).

There is a difference between something not being creative enough to be separately copyrighted and something being public domain. From one does not follow the other. If we need to discuss this, there are a couple of knowledgeable people on this list. However I think it gets us nowhere and we are not the right forum for it.


Mirko Boehm | mirko at | KDE e.V.
FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist and Trainer
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